European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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4 October 2012

Commission’s nanomaterials review does not ensure workers’ protection

The Second Regulatory Review on Nanomaterials published on 3 October by the European Commission aims at assessing the implementation of EU legislation for nanomaterials and respond to issues raised by the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee. In doing so, it fails to propose a consistent strategy to guarantee the protection of workers handling or in contact with nanomaterials.

The ETUI finds that:

  • The whole logic behind REACH registration dossiers is flawed as the description of each nanomaterial and the information submitted by the registrants under REACH is insufficient and not useful to assess nanomaterials.
  • There is insufficient data and the Commission is not willing to adapt and make the rules for chemical safety assessment applicable to nanomaterials. The ETUI believes that no nanomaterials products should be in the market without their potential human health and environment effects being known.
  • There is no intention to adapt the Chemicals Agents Directive 98/24/EC. More information is needed to develop the necessary detailed guidelines on the risk assessment of nanoparticles.
  • Information on the health of workers involved in the manufacturing and processing of nanoparticules is missing the in the Communication as well as in the Staff Working Paper.

Additionally, the Commission expects data results on occupational health and safety legislation by 2014. This proves that the Commission feels the need to obtain more data. Clearly, the current Commission' strategy on worker’s protection is not sufficiently informed and other issues related to product registry, worker’s registry and Member States call for an appropriate regulatory framework.

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